Every walks column needs a gimmick, and I'm beginning to think I might have chanced upon one for this column: linking each outing to a culinary experience.

Last time the walk was preceded by the purchase of a fresh, Dales rabbit from a butcher at Summerbridge (which later in the week was converted into a very tasty stew with the help of onions, carrots, garlic, cider and a bouquet garni).

This week's late-January morning walk for my wife and I was followed by a late lunch of a couple of delicious, warm pork pies from Hopkins butchers in Birkenshaw, who've won awards for them.

It's fortunate that my travels don't take me through Birkenshaw too often because every time they do I can't resist stopping for one of these crispy-crust, succulently-filled pies. If I passed that way on a regular basis, I'd soon turn into a big lad and need to walk even more to work it off!

Birkenshaw was on the way to and from Dewsbury, where this walk was to end and where we parked the car at the station. The plan was to catch a train to Mirfield and walk back from there along the Calder Valley Greenway, completing the route that we'd started some months ago by following the Birkby Bradley Greenway and the first part of the Calder Valley Greenway from Huddersfield to Mirfield.

This is one of Sustrans's latest sections of the National Cycle Network of routes for cyclists, walkers and riders, linking up just west of Dewsbury with the Spen Valley Greenway.

Unfortunately we just missed the train and there wasn't another for half an hour, giving us plenty of time to stroll down to the bus station to use the loos (there are none at the railway station). And when we were there, we discovered that a bus was leaving for Mirfield in a couple of minutes.

So we caught that, and enjoyed a ride around the houses on what turned out to be a very friendly bus with driver and boarding passengers greeting each other like old friends.

In fact I was rather sad to leave the bus, but we had arrived in Huddersfield Road, the main route through Mirfield, and the walk beckoned.

Nice little place, Mirfield, with a comfortable, friendly small-town feel to it and lots of pleasant countryside around. Huddersfield Road is busy, though. We strolled eastwards alongside it following the blue Greenway signs with their cycle logo which make this largely an easy a walk to follow, past a handful of cars unhelpfully parked in the cycle lane, past the Back Pain Sports Injury Clinic, until we arrive at Church Lane and crossed it to pass under an arch proclaiming that this was part of the Calder Valley Greenway.

We were away from the traffic now, walking on a recently-laid paved lane through open greenery with the backs of houses to our right. From time to time we passed semi-circles of wooden benches with protective stone walls built around them, and newly-planted shrubberies.

There was only us and dog walkers around, as there often are when you walk on a midweek day (even though it was by now mid-morning).

We doglegged round a basketball court in the middle of a large recreation area surrounded by houses, then soon walked on between well-equipped playgrounds and a football pitch to arrive at Myrtle Road and turn along it.

It and its continuation, Sackville Street, proved to be an interesting experience. They go in for adorning their small front gardens with old sofas round here, plus the occasional fridge. At one house a large dog put its head over the wall and barked at us, then barked even louder at a postman passing by on his rounds.

Before long we were crossing open greenery again before swinging around the Lower Spen Local Nature Reserve (where the wildlife has to compete for space with the litter) before joining the Spen Valley Greenway to turn south, walking past factory fences before dropping down to meet Huddersfield Road and crossing it to walk alongside the River Calder.

A very full river it was too, after weeks with seldom a day without rain. There were terrific views behind us of the sort of sight that's becoming increasingly rare: an industrial landscape, with a mill and its chimney to be spied through the arch of a railway bridge across the swollen water.

The path, railed-off now, crossed the weir of the Dewsbury flood alleviation channel, a mighty moat protecting the southern end of the town from the sort of scenes we've witnessed elsewhere this past year. At the other side, we turned to walk on to Thornhill Road, crossed it, and soon rejoined the riverside footpath back into the town centre before climbing up to the station and our car.

I can't pretend this is a lovely route. There's too much litter and industry along the second half of it for it to be described as such. But it's interesting, and the Mirfield stretch is attractive enough. And the beauty of it is that it's easily reached by public transport.

Step by Step

  1. From Mirfield station, walk up Station Road to traffic lights at Huddersfield Road (where you'll start from if travelling by bus). Turn right and walk along main road to Church Lane on left.
  2. Cross Church Lane and go under arch of Calder Valley Greenway, Follow paved track ahead, past houses on right. At open space in middle, dogleg around basketball court and go under another arch, Keep ahead to T-junction.
  3. Turn right, with playgrounds on left and playing fields on right. At junction, go left into Myrtle Road and walk along between houses and past school. At another junction, cross over into Sackville Street and keep ahead past houses and into open area. With road ahead, go left briefly and then right to cross road and half-right, skirting past nature reserve to follow path that joins Spen Valley Greenway.
  4. Go right along this, past factory fences. Where a wide path leaves greenway at a left-hand descending fork, follow this down to Huddersfield Road. Cross at crossing. Go left then almost immediately right to pass through gate of R.W. Edwards & Sons, joining riverbank and walking downstream. Pass under railway bridge and then cross top of flood-defences overflow.
  5. Turn left at far end of overflow, following town-centre signpost. Arriving at Thornhill Road, look for continuation sign on far side. Cross and follow that to soon meet up with river again and arrive in town centre.

Fact File

  • Start: Mirfield Station, or Huddersfield Road, Mirfield.
  • Time for three-mile walk: one and a half hours.
  • Going: easy.
  • Map: OS Explorer 288, Bradford & Huddersfield.
  • Parking: at Dewsbury Station (pay-and-display), travelling to Mirfield by train or bus.
  • Toilets: Dewsbury bus station (none on route)
  • Refreshments: pubs and cafes in both Dewsbury and Mirfield.